A recent ad says it all, but the not way the folks at DC think.
Yes, for reasons that have been debated before, Barry Allen is back from his heroic sacrifice during Crisis on Infinite Earths, although it seems they’re making him into the Black Flash, which from what I can tell is some kind of Grim Reaper for speedsters. But it’s the changes in Barry’s history that’s got fans a bit concerned.
Pre-Crisis: As a kid, Barry Allen enjoyed the Flash comics, featuring a man named Jay Garrick who had super speed powers. (We later learn the writers had actually made a mental link with Earth-2, another dimension where the adventures really took place.) Between that and his affinity with science, he becomes a crime lab tech. One night, he’s hit with electrified chemicals that give him the ability to travel at superhuman speeds, like his comic book hero. In his honor (and ignoring trademark laws?), Barry become a real-life Flash.
Post-Crisis: As a kid, Barry Allen enjoyed the Flash comics, based on the adventures of the a super speedy hero from years back. Everything else is in place.
And now: Barry’s motivation to become a criminologist comes from his dad (falsely?) accused of murdering his mother as a child. His desire for super speed now comes from the fact that he couldn’t catch the police car taking his father away. What influence Flash comics, whether as fiction or a telling of an actual superhero’s past exploits, have on his decisions before and after making contact with the “Speed Force” is not really known. They’re too busy coming up with an origin story for his bowtie. Yeah, I don’t get that part, either.
The big problem here is that Henry and Nora Allen are both depicted alive and not in prison during the early Flash adventures…in other words, while Barry was an adult. In fact, Barry’s wife, Iris “died” (long WTF story) before the Allens. Some fans theorised that maybe Barry had absorbed memories of other speedsters, and thus is mixing them with his own. I would like to believe that, but considering how badly today’s writers want to give every character darker motivations (ala Batman and other Gotham heroes–where it works), I’m not as sure. Plus, all the solicits talk about the new “darker” origins for Barry.
Originally, Barry became the Flash (and a criminologist previously) because of the influence of reading about heroic characters in comics. After Identity Crisis, they seem to be in short supply in the DC Universe. (Likewise Marvel post Civil War.) Now it seems that even the people at DC don’t believe a child can be influenced by heroic characters. (Which is fine, considering that with Supergirl: Cosmic Adv. gone, there are only about four super hero titles that are kid-friendly to begin with now, and one of those is an anthology.) They also don’t believe that heroes are influenced by past heroes, because the press, Hollywood, and the like are going out of their way to bring down real life heroes, much less draining the heroism of fictional ones (from what I hear about Superman Returns, there’s little “super” about him–then there’s Hancock and the movie version of Watchmen).
Eric Rupe at The Weekly Crisis has said that referring to Didio, Geoff Johns, and other as “Silver Age Fanboys” is incorrect, and for a different reason I agree with him. No “fan” would do this stuff to their characters. That’s why I prefer “Fanfic Brigade”…because it reads like bad fanfic.